Former Pittsburgh running back Rocky Bleier won four Super Bowls with the Steelers in the 1970s, including Super Bowl IX, which was the coldest Super Bowl ever played.
The game-time temperature was 46 degrees.
Needless to say, this Sunday should smash the previous record by double-digits. But as of now, meteorologists are at least calling for clear conditions.
“Everybody talks about the cold weather,” Bleier said on The Damon Amendolara Show. “(Super Bowl IX was) perfect weather for a player. It wasn’t snowing, it wasn’t raining. So, as we approach this game here, everybody’s talking about the cold weather, but the cold weather really doesn’t affect the players. Temperatures are going to be about 25 degrees or so. It may (be a) record. Fans may be a little chilly in the stadium.
“But you have adrenaline and you’ve got the game and you’re focused. As long as . . . it’s not sleeting or raining or the wind (isn’t) blowing or snowing . . . (weather) won’t really affect this game. The players will be focused. You just block out everything that goes on around you and you do your job.
“I’d be amazed if after the game somebody says, ‘Oh yeah, the weather was really a factor.’ I don’t believe that it will be.”
The Steelers hosted the the Houston Oilers in the playoffs in 1978 and 1979. Both games were played in nasty, raw conditions, but the Super Bowls were played in Miami and Los Angeles, respectively.
“I remember those games,” Bleier said, “because it was 32 degrees but it was (also)sleeting (and) raining. You couldn’t get dry. You’d get tackled in that first half, and oh, I was so cold. I changed my clothes at halftime, and you come back out and you hit the turf and you’d be wet all over again. It was miserable. It was one of those miserable games.
“So that does make (it) a factor mentally when you’re playing the game, as well as physically what you can or can’t do. But it doesn’t look like it’s going to rain or snow (this Sunday). So it should be a good game – and I’ll be watching it at home in my warmth by the fireplace.”
Bleier, a war veteran, is in New York to help coach the Wounded Warrior Amputee Flag Football Game. Bleier was dafted by the army in 1968, right after this rookie season. He volunteered for duty and went to Vietnam in 1969. He was wounded multiple times and won the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his heroics.
This marks the third year that the game will be played during Super Bowl week.
“We have support from NFL alumni from the Giants and the Jets who will be at that game,” Bleier said. “To see these young warriors – and we have 9-11 responders also a part of this game – it’s really a showcase of people with physical challenges overcome. It’s very inspirational to see these kids with prosthetics to go out and play and compete. They’re athletes and they want to compete.”